LONDON, August 3. /TASS/. The currently in force suspension of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has a negative impact on the development of track and field sports among the youth in Russia, ARAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin said on Thursday.
The IAAF Congress voted earlier on Thursday to extend the suspension term of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF). The voting followed a report delivered on Monday by Independent chairperson of IAAF Taskforce Rune Andersen, who recommended the participants of the IAAF Council in London to keep in force the suspension of the Russian track and field body, also referred to as RusAF, since Russia has not implemented in full the criteria necessary for its membership reinstatement.
"There are negative trends that need to be understood and evaluated for consequences," Shlyakhtin said addressing the IAAF Congress on Thursday before the voting was held. "The prolongation of the situation with the suspension strongly affected the youth and junior age groups and they, having experience of sports training, prefer to go to other sports, the same applies to coaches."
"We are losing our reserve and the popularity of athletics reduces," Shlyakhtin stated. "The amount of spectators at the stadiums is also decreasing, there is almost no athletics on TV programs, all of this makes you think what’s next!"
A total of 166 people at the IAAF Congress voted in favor of extending the suspension term for the ARAF, while only 21 voted against.
In 2015, the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission carried out an investigation into the activities of the ARAF, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry.
The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.
The work of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and RUSADA was eventually suspended. The IAAF in turn decided to suspend ARAF’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a host of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement in order to restore its membership in the global federation.
Nineteen Russian track-and-field athletes have been cleared to take part in the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London this month. However, they will perform as neutral athletes as the ARAF remains suspended. Russian track-and-field athletes are banned from wearing gear of the national team or wear any apparel symbolizing the Russian flag at competitions.